The Art Walls are an installation by Margo Sawyer, designed in concert with architects Page Sutherland Page. The new house, located in Santa Fe, NM, features several other material innovations such as colored rammed earth walls.
Our role in the Art Walls was mostly technical. The joint vision of the artist and architect was paramount. From the outside surface, as draw by Margo, my job was 90% of the painted panels, and everything behind them. Margo provided the remaining 10% of the panels, metal with intense coloration.
Discussions started a year before implementation. At such an early stage in the process, I was able to plan effectively and to strategize the best possible outcome. The tolerences to the ceiling, fireplace, and ductwork were very precise. The panels facing the kitchen are operable cabinets. We fabricated in Austin,and installed in Santa Fe.
This door was designed and commissioned by Alterstudio Architects for a new house. The entire residence is low-key, modern, and solid.
Molly needed a TV cabinet that also housed the stereo speakers, DVD player, and cable box. We both wanted the speakers contained, so they were integrated into the cabinet behind white speaker grille cloth. The handles are cocobolo wood with bronze stand-offs by Hawkeye.
Molly is a fond collector of all the arts, including and especially music. She wanted open and enclosed shelves for her records, CD's, and stereo equipment. Molly's house was built in the 1950's and has a luxurious, minimalist Hollywood atmosphere. The stereo should be easy to use, for parties, private listening, or any occassion. Witht the design, I tried to strike a balance between a cabinet that blended in to the house and called just enough attention to itself.
International architecture firm Gensler opened a new office in Austin, TX at the W Hotel. I met Lance Yeary of Gensler at the East Austin Studio Tour in 2010, where he saw a massive walnut slab at my shop. His firm immediately commissioned this table. The only drawback was that the 15 foot long slab would not fit in their feight elevator. Lance said, no problem. They were hiring a crane, and removing a window, to bring a steel staircase into the office anyway. The day of delivery, I pulled up to the building with the table top crate in the back of my truck. Riggers threw straps around it, and up my table went into the sky and through the office window where it still sits today.
My client had purchased a beautifully maintained 1920's house. Her goal was to update and to remodel so that the changes were indistinguishable from the existing structure. The house contained traditional frame-and-panel millwork , mouldings, and brackets. I borrowed these details from the house to design a new library room, with shelves wrapping around all four sides and stepping around the windows and doors. A datum was created above the door jamb by making a continuous shelf at the height of eight feet, with brackets on the corners. The wood was figured red gum, the same species as the house millwork, which needed to be custom ordered amd dyed to match the aged wood.
These doors required a technical feat. Griffin and Heather were building the house of their dreams. They wanted their new doors to contain lumber from fallen trees on their land. That was not difficult. Texas Kiln Products provided the milling and kiln-drying. Live oak lumber is gorgeous and exotically figured. However, it is notoriously unstable. It won't stay flat, which is not good for doors. I milled the live oak to 1/4" thickness and glued it to a marine-grade substrate, first covering the egdes of the plywood with live oak nosing. The doors look like solid lumber, but are shop-built composites that stay very flat indeed.
Griffin and Heather also found large quartz rocks on the property. I located a lapidary who sliced the stones to 3/8" thick and polished the surfaces.
I designed the doors with a woven pattern of structural rails. Light passes through the glass and quartz panels. Visitors can be seen from afar, descending the hill to the entry way.
Christy came to me with a very strong visual idea for an expandable dining table. She had visions of a dramatic Art Deco-inspired base made of a big "X". I designed a base with curved, bent-laminated shapes that joined in the center. It was a crazy, nutty frenzy of construction: 24 layers of oak veneer in a big clamping form with glue squeezing everywhere. But somehow, miraculously, it worked, and how.